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Oppression and Privilege: Toward a Relational Conceptualization of Race

Betsy Lucal
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul., 1996), pp. 245-255
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1318739
Page Count: 11
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Oppression and Privilege: Toward a Relational Conceptualization of Race
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Abstract

Race is often one of the more controversial classroom topics addressed by sociologists. Unfortunately, current conceptualizations are limited by their tendency to focus only on racial "minorities" and the oppressive aspects of race. This approach overlooks how whites are affected by race and indeed receive privileges through race. Teaching from this model thus gives students an inadequate view. In this paper I outline the components of an alternative (relational) model that focuses on white privilege and on white supremacy, the ideology that upholds it, thereby providing a more realistic and more complete analysis. Then I discuss issues involved in teaching a relational model of race, including preparing to teach from this model, taking it into the classroom, and dealing with white students' reactions to this way of thinking.

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